I had a great time recently at the Parent’s Summit Conference at McNeil High School in Round Rock, TX. The organizers did a superior job at putting together lots of relevant information for parents. My participation consisted of a talk about a Practical Approach to Children’s Nutrition. I designed my presentation to provide practical advice parents can take home and apply right from day one. I’ve learned that is what parents want, rather than theory only.

One of the attendees suggested I should post my “Beef with Camouflaged vegetables” in my blog, and so I’ve provided it below. Many parents know that kids reach an age where they try very hard to avoid vegetables, even the ones they used to love when they were younger. It is a texture issue, for the most part, but it also involves a challenging attitude kids adopt while learning.

My advice to overcome those moments is to be creative and continue offering the same vegetables in a way they can’t refuse them. Check out this recipe; it has everything, from tomatoes to leeks, to anything you can imagine. This recipe is my first choice when, at home, I realize I have fresh vegetables that start to look “sad”. You know what I mean. We often buy fresh vegetables to prepare a particular dish and what is left over stays in the refrigerator until it is not longer alive. Well, right before that point is when I cook them with meat, and the end result is a delicious and nutritious main dish for the whole family.

Beef with “Camouflaged” Vegetables:

• 2 lb Beef Roast
• 1 Medium Onion
• ½ Green or Red Bell Pepper
• 2 Carrots
• 1 Leek
• 2 Garlic Cloves
• Olive Oil and Water
• 1 Large Tomato

Preparation:

First, brown the meat with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, turning it around often. Now you are going to cut up all the vegetables and add them to the pan. When you have them all in, add a cup of water, cover and allow to cook slowly for about 45 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes, turning the meat around to allow it to cook evenly. By allowing the vegetables to cook with the meat, we are going to create a mixture of flavors when the juices from the meat cook  in with the vegetables, and the water from the vegetables creates moist for the meat to cook in.

After about 45 minutes to 1 hour, take the meat out and slice it when cool. Using a hand blender, mix in all the vegetables in the pan until they have the consistency of a pure. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the meat to the mixture of blended vegetables and allow it to cook together for an additional 15 minutes. You now have a delicious beef roast, covered by a sauce made out of vegetables.

Since you are going to end up with a lot of sauce, it is a good idea to separate part of it and use it with pasta. You can cook some mixed colored pasta bows or spirals and mix in the vegetable mixture, instead of using prepared spaghetti sauce. It has all the flavors from the meat juices and it is just delicious.

About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.